10 action items IT departments should complete by next year

10 action items IT departments should complete by next year

Summary: Accenture compiles the top forces reshaping IT, and what should be done about them within the next 12 months.


We know that there are a number of trends and initiatives -- including Platform as a Services (PaaS), big data, social, and mobile -- that are changing the nature of information technology work. We know those forces are present in most organizations today.

Accenture Technology Labs just released its Technology Vision 2012 forecast, which identifies these emerging IT developments -- based on input from the Labs’ scientists, architects, and engineers, as well as crowdsourced perspectives from across the industry.

Accenture says the time to act on these changes to IT priorities is now. We culled 10 key action items that Accenture says should be on IT departments' plates one year from now, touching on PaaS, big data, converged data, and security. There's a lot of consult-speak in here, but the points reflect how businesses need to find ways to better embrace and work with the data they are now collecting:

  1. Look at 'data services': "Re-architect the organizational structure to gear it toward data services."
  2. Engage more with the business on data services: "Organize active, ongoing discussions with business functions about new data services needed."
  3. Test solutions that incorporate unstructured data (documents, video, log data): "Run data platform trials that leverage structured and unstructured data—with data in the platform and in use by one or more business processes."
  4. Inventory where data services are needed: "Compile a firm list of context-based services that is regularly updated as circumstances change—and that forms the basis of discussion with the business side in order to drive the platform for context across the enterprise."
  5. Put together a team to identify where data services are needed: "Form a pilot team that blends user experience specialists with data scientists to experiment with new contextual data services."
  6. Expand data services efforts: "Create a list of other business processes that can begin to leverage data in the platform."
  7. Enable greater experimentation with solutions: "Forge closer partnerships with the business to allow blended teams with fast-turn experiments in mind."
  8. Move to Platform as a Service: Demonstrate how IT will be able to "evaluate and work with platform providers much as it works with conventional outsourcing services."
  9. Build security considerations into the early stages of every project: "Establish processes that make robust, flexible security a priority when IT systems are being designed and developed."
  10. Recognize IT's new evolving role in coordinating both internal and external services: "Create clear orchestration roles that specify how IT works with service providers."

[UPDATE: As you can see the comments below, this post is generating quite a bit of discussion about consultant-speak, or what reader Jorwell calls XML, or "eXcitable Marketing Language." The Accenture report does distill important considerations IT and business managers need to address or be aware of. But, as is always the goal here at this blogsite, we'll try to keep the consultant-speak toned down as far as possible in future posts.]

Topic: CXO

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  • Laughable

    This list is a textbook case of the meaningless tripe that gives consulting a bad name.
    • Agree 100%...

      ... and I do I.T. consulting for a living. If I brought a list like this to my boss or clients, I would be fired.
      • +1

        I'm actually passing this list to my boss, just to see his reaction. This list is a joke.
    • I keep waiting for the company name in this advert

      That is probably the only thing missing from this article.

      Oh ZDnet, what new low have we fallen to?
  • A nice long list of nothing

    Lots of words with suggestions of ZERO value.

    Seriously, that sounds like a way of wasting money just to annoy the workers and destroy any productivity.
  • IPv6

    Being an international company our main goal is getting up and running on IPv6.
  • Are people getting paid for this?

    This one goes high on my list of useless consultancy advice.
    pfff, they didn't even use the word 'paradigm'.

    I guess this one was written by Scott adams.
  • Cutting consultancy costs with automation

    I wrote a tool a while ago that generates sentences like:

    "The flexible, asynchronous, hot pluggable container enables a loosely coupled, service oriented, distributed adapter using the fine-grained, parallel, heterogeneous governance."

    "A hot pluggable, agile, embedded container allows the optimized, lightweight, distributed complex event processing utilizing an object oriented, advanced, parallel process choreography."

    "The fine-grained, advanced, java based programming language integrates the service oriented, embedded, database agnostic process choreography utilizing the heterogeneous, enriched, lightweight enterprise service bus."

    All I need to do is keep pressing the button.
    • Agree

      The suggestions are IT gibberish.

      Ought to have applicability to the odd Governemnt contract, Accenture bread and butter.
      Richard Flude
      • It's not gibberish, it's XML*

        * eXcitable Marketing Language

        Or possibly b6t, it's much the same.
    • need a new job?

      Cause you'll get a job offer from zdnet!
      • I'm a bit worried though

        Apparently Oracle are planning to sue me, because they used a similar tool to write the Fusion Middleware web site.
    • Link for Tool, please

      jorwell, are you offering this tool as free or paidware? I'd love to obtain a copy. I get stuck on proposal verbiage sometimes. :-)

      And it clearly has adopters, since ZDnet writers are using it!
      • It's free

        but it depends on whether you want to have 600 lines of Transact-SQL.
  • The Need for Understanding Information Technology Infrastructure Logistics!

    After years of doing systems architecture, integration, and delivery services and implementing Configuration Management and Disaster Recovery processes I have put together an Enterprise Information Management Logistics model which addresses the "issues listed above".

    They are not objectives. All planning to identify the objectives must start with a Business Process Model, (which should include a Workflow Process Model) for the Enterprise. The BPM must be supplemented with an Entity Relationship Model, and finally an Enterprise Data Model. Only then can you begin to identify your Enterprise Information Systems Objectives. Once this is accomplished you can use the EIML Model to deal with IaaS, PaaS, AaaS, et tal.

    I would never sign an agreement with a PaaS provider who could lock you into specific IT technologies which may not provide you with the tools you need for your BPM. Part of the EIML model is to identify required IT technologies and platforms which support the tools and possibly the third party application solutions you want to implement. You must completely understand your Enterprise Data Model to be able to determine what ETL, Data Integration, structured databases (whether they are ACID relational or NoSQL databases), the need for structured and unstructured data (possibly including Big Data technologies), data warehousing, and business analytic and intelligence tools.

    The EIML model would help you determine your transaction processing requirements; Internet Web and Web Application Services technologies; networking, security, disk, clustering, virtualization, fail-over, backup and recovery, total overall processing and storage requirements, development tools, source code management, processing SDLC environment stacks, and even what vendors and providers can offer you the best solutions.

    At this point you can best identify the IaaS providers which can provide you with the best foundation for your desired technology solutions. Then be tough when negotiating your Service Level Agreement with the IaaS provider(s).
    • Well I am not sure

      I would say for many data modellers the entity-relationship model is pretty outdated and doesn't fit well to modern relational DBMSs. I think entity-relationship modelling is responsible for much misunderstanding of relational DBMSs and consequent misuse.

      Tables in an RDBMS are certainly NOT equivalent to entities.
  • This is allot like...

    The quote in GnR's "Civil War" from the central American guerrilla colonel. "We practice selective annihilation of mayors and government officials. We create a vacuum, then we fill that vacuum. As popular war advances, peace grows closer."

    Accenture is manufacturing a vacuum which they're more than happy to fill, except the only thing they're looking to grow is revenues. The goal is some C-level reads this, has a knee jerk reaction thinking that they aren't doing anything with their data, and next thing you know, said company's staff is tripping over 15 Accenture employees (all billing 50 hours a week) for the next 3 months.

    Look, I don't argue the value of data, but "data services" seems to be the new "cloud." I'm not saying they're the same thing, but the term cloud seems to be nothing but a marketing umbrella used to cover things that already existed under other names, for the most part. Now "data services" and "big data" seem to be all the rage, and similarly, are just a rebranding of things that have been around prior to these terms. Certainly not every company is treating data like Google and Facebook do, but leveraging your data isn't exactly a new concept.